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Walking comparison - Acropolis vs. Mont-Saint-Michel vs Arches NP Delicate Arch

In your experience, is the walk up/down the Acropolis harder than, similar to, or easier than the up/down at Mont-Saint-Michel and/or the trail to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park?

We are traveling to Greece next week and I’ve suffered a knee injury. I am improving but have anxiety about my ability to tackle the Acropolis when I am not 100%. I was not concerned prior to this injury.

I’ve read/watched videos about the Acropolis but am trying to wrap my mind around it in comparison to other walks/hikes I’ve done recently (pre-injury).

Any input is appreciated. I know Greece will be amazing!

Posted by
186 posts

Hi, I can't comment on the comparative difficulty, but I can comment on the two possible paths to the Acropolis. We visited Greece in June, and we ascended both trails. I have a heart condition, and therefore cannot climb stairs or steep hills quickly. I have to take a lot of breaks on the way up.

The trail that starts closer to the Acropolis museum is more of a slanted trail (think: going for a hike). It has dirt and small rocks underfoot along with some uneven stone steps. There are multiple places to pause on the way up. It seemed to be longer than the other trail, but that could just be my perception. Toward the top, it meets up with the main trail.

The trail by the main entrance closer to the Forum has more steps. The steps are made of stone and have been placed there. Kind of like someone's patio if it had steps. That being said, they are still bumpy and not completely even. This trail seemed to be shorter but increased in altitude more quickly. I found it harder to walk up this trail because of the quicker ascent by steps, but that was due to my heart condition.

At the top, you will have some large stones to navigate your way up. Be sure to wear shoes that have good grip! If you can take your time, it should be very do-able. Take a look at both trails. Maybe one will suit your situation more than the other. Have a great time! We really enjoyed Athens and the rest of Greece!

Posted by
3712 posts

I can’t comment on Mont-Saint-Michel or Delicate Arch. That said, we visited the Acropolis a few years ago. Due to slippery marble stairs and uneven terrain I would suggest a shoe with a good tread, firm sole. I like the Keen Rose Sandal, low hiking boot, or substantial athletic shoe. Your healthcare provider would be a resource for your mobility concerns since you are not 100%. We had a gal on our tour who was having knee issues and she had to back out from some of the walks & hikes. I hope all goes well and you enjoy Greece!

Posted by
276 posts

Mont Saint Michel is easily walkable and doesn’t seem hilly. I toured it during a couple of sunny days in December. It was not slippery at all unlike the Acropolis which occasionally felt dangerous.

Posted by
32 posts

Thanks to those who provided relevant input.

As I stated, I read several descriptions, including some previous posts on this forum, and watched a few videos about the Acropolis walk before posting my question. I hoped having a comparison of walks I am familiar with would give me some additional insight.

Posted by
478 posts

Having completed all three, then my take on them is this: If you are talking about the Upper Delicate Arch Trail, then IMO that is more difficult than the Acropolis. But consider how you will do on the steps of the Acropolis vs. the slickrock of Delicate. My experience after a knee injury is that coming down the steps is worse than climbing upwards. If you are asking about the Lower Delicate Arch Trail, then it is easier than the Acropolis. MSM was not the least bit difficult for me. I think if you take your time at the Acropolis you should be fine. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
32 posts

I appreciate the helpful advice and good wishes!

Frank, I saw the elevator info but do not qualify, according to the person I spoke with at the number on the ticket information page of the website. I think it is terrific for people who otherwise would not be able to experience it and am glad you mentioned it here.

I am walking better each day, including some hills & stairs (non-slick), and am going to utilize the advice here (and in other posts/research) to give it a try next week. If I don’t succeed, I can try again a couple of weeks later when I return to Athens at the end of my trip. If that doesn’t work, I can enjoy it from a rooftop restaurant and/or even visit again one day.

Posted by
281 posts

Do any of the steps up to the Acropolis have hand rails? This would help me with balance issues.

Posted by
529 posts

Except recent modification there are no (or almost no) handrails. When there are they are mainly ropes between the posts which cannot be used as a support to help walking/climbing

Posted by
1 posts

For me, it was the slipperyness of the polished marble stairs at incline and slant of the stairs without any railings that made it very challenging. I'd plan to go slowly. Unfortunately, we had a rainstorm and it was quite slippery. Wear excellent shoes and go slowly. It is worth the effort.

Posted by
3712 posts

We found the most slippery stairs in Santorini. At our hotel there were 196 stairs to our room. Marble steps. Only about 1/4 of the stairs had a railing. The staff carried our luggage down holding them above their heads! Unbelievable. On our third day we spoke to a gentleman whose wife fell on the stairs and fractured her leg. Needless to say we would never stay there again.

Posted by
2952 posts

Good Advice, Janis -- it would be even better if you'd give the name of the place with 196 steps! Otherwise, it's interesting but not useful for others.

Posted by
3712 posts

Hi Janet, FYI- it was Dana Villas. Our room was by the pool. Lovely view!

Posted by
21 posts

I'm sure I'm late to this post--but in case others are wondering: We just visited Athens, and of course we went up the Acropolis.

I use a cane when needed-up & down stairs and steep slopes. (one bad knee and one bad hip!!) There is no "means test" to determine if one is handicapped enough to use the elevator--I used it no problem at all. I would not have been able to go all the way up if not for the elevator.

I certainly wouldn't suggest using it if one just doesn't want to climb a steep hill--but it's there for a reason--use it if you need it!!

Posted by
5489 posts

I've done all three routes, but MSM was 50+ years ago so I can't really compare it. But the main Acropolis route, from the west end near Mars Hill, is much easier than the upper Delicate Arch trail. I remember it as paved and fairly even, with most of the steps shallow and widely spaced. I think there were handrails in some places but probably not all the way up. Also a much shorter distance.

My wife has knee problems and had been dreading the Acropolis climb, but she found it easier than she'd feared. Of course she was motivated by what was on top. I'd suggest taking it slowly, which may be easier to do because there will be so many people doing the same thing. Hope it's worth it to you, as it certainly was to us.

Posted by
281 posts

Thanks for the info on access to the elevator Diana. There is no way I could walk up and down the stairs although not in a wheelchair. Sounds like we can visit the Acropolis the end of November. Yeah!